Privacy SOS

Biometrics, social media, and FOIA lies

  • Senators Rockefeller and Machin, both Democrats of West Virginia, spoke at a biometrics industry conference "geared toward bringing new business to West Virginia." The Senators urged biometrics firms to consider a move to West Virginia, given the state's close proximity to the CIA, NSA and FBI, as well as the biometrics degrees offered by West Virginia University and Marshall university. 
  • The Somerville, MA based firm Unisys has released a study it says demonstrates that Americans are unafraid of possible Big Brother dystopias created by the proliferation of biometrics technologies. But does Unisys have an ax to grind in the debate? Are Americans really comfortable with biometrics? According to their numbers, more Northeasterners are disquieted by biometrics than those Americans from any other part of the country. Keeping it suspicious, Northeast. Kudos.
  • Intel is in talks to acquire an Israeli firm, InVision Biometrics, for about $60 million. The company manufactures "hands free" 3D biometrics imaging systems. 
  • In the "obvious" column, we have so-called "news" that the CIA monitors social media. We knew that already, but a reminder never hurts, I guess. This bit, about how the CIA actually uses its "vengeful librarians" is interesting, however.
  • Finally, remember when we told you that the DOJ wants the right to lie to you about your FOIA requests? For example if you ask the FBI for records on you or your group, the DOJ wants to be able to legally tell you they don't have any, even if they do. The department wanted to make this an official rule. Well, people didn't like that so much. And so they've pulled back. But as Emptywheel asks: why believe them now, after they already admitted they'd lied to us about lying to us?

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